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6 January, 2003 10:39 AM

Thanks for the links to my 'Quote of the Day' post (2 or 3 previously). It was unexpectedly but gratefully linked byJosh, Richard 1, Richard 2 and Mike. (all of whom have excellent blogs which I peruse from time to time!

I like the style of conversations people have on blogs - its like no where else! Snippets on this blog, snippets there.

Richard 1's post has got me thinking a little more. He writes: "We all want to see growing, lively churches, but it is a mistake to fall into the trap of thinking of the Church as a 'business' with a 'product' to sell....But we do not have a product to sell. We have a gospel to offer. I keep going back to the parable of the sower, who sows seed into every kind of soil indiscriminately, knowing that only some will produce a harvest....." Check out the rest � its good.

Like Richard, I am torn - I agree in part.... I don't believe we are in 'business' and we shouldn't reduce the gospel to a product. The gospel is not something that can be neatly packaged up to look great and then sold in easily swallowable sized pills. We need to continue to sow the seed. The seed is something I'm not willing to play with, to dress up, its not negotiable in my mind. However I wonder if the way we are sowing the seed is at least in part redundant.

Farmers over the years have found new ways to sow their seeds. I'm no agricultural expert, but centuries ago I take it that it was done by hand. Today we do it differently to increase our harvests. The seed has not changed (although with all this genetically modified food things are changing) but there are new and different ways of sowing it depending upon the farmer and the soil (culture) they sow it into.

Perhaps I'm stretching the metaphor to much. But when I look at the way many Churches and Christians sow the seed of the gospel into our culture today I wonder how effective it is. Take a typical outreach service that is run in many churches (including my own over the years). We sing 'contemporary' songs (something that in Australia a 'normal' person would never do unless they were drunk or at the football), we sit all facing the front, looking at the back of everyone else's heads except the 'experts' up the front, we listen to a guest 'expert' talk in a monologue for 20-40 minutes about how we should live our lives (something else the average Aussie at least doesn't do too well) and then we are asked to pay for the pleasure by putting money in the bowl that circulates at the end to pay for the 'guest expert'.

I'm not saying that this is a completely redundant method - obviously many of us have been touched by these services ourselves. However I wonder if we are sowing our seeds in such a way that only a certain percentage of the population will be open to.

One study into worship found that the style of music (contemporary worship) that over 90% of Australian churches play every Sunday appeals in style to around 10% of the Australian population. This is a fantastic and more relevant way for reaching the 10% of the population who are so inclined, but what about the other 90% of the population? Maybe we need to readdress the imbalance - if these are the stats and we are called to reach 100% of people why are less than 10% trying to reach the vast majority while the other 90% 'compete' for the minority.

Perhaps I'm being a little simplistic - but I can't stop thinking about this stuff - as 'Church' we need to really grapple with this - lets keep the 'blogservations' happening...

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